Revolution of the Mind

The founder of the European School of Economics on how true change comes from within
December 9, 2014 Updated: December 9, 2014

LONDON—A twist of fate left Elio D’Anna in solitude for three years, separated from friends, family and in a foreign country. During that time the Founder and President of the European School of Economics (ESE) enlightened to a new philosophy, one that would form the basis of his business school.

Wanting to spread his new understandings to inspire and enrich the leaders of future organisations, D’Anna began his educational revolution, opening his first business college in Milan, Italy, 20 years ago. He went on to open further centres in Florence and Rome, before expanding overseas to New York, London, and Madrid.

The colleges now offer degrees with not only training in fundamental business skills, but also in integrity and self-awareness to “create a new generation of young entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, visionaries, pragmatic dreamers”, according to the ESE website.

“I believe we have to change our vision, we have to change our dream, and through that we change our reality,” D’Anna told the Epoch Times.

As a young and talented musician, D’Anna began his professional career as a famous rock star, but after an unexpected turn in his music career, D’Anna found himself alone in a new country away from the familiarity of his Italian homeland. In the quiet of his solitude D’Anna found something inside himself that felt more real—he found a freedom, a kind that one can only experience in such times of crisis.

Those years of solitude were very important to D’Anna, “important because they made me turn towards myself and see that all the problems and difficulties were within”.

You have to change something within yourself to realise that reality is just a mirror of your inner being, D’Anna explained. “We are so infatuated with our life outside of ourselves that we forget, totally forget, ourselves.”

What D’Anna discovered was that the world he was creating, a world that he could stand no more, all stemmed from himself, and he came to realise he had to change inside.
“We try to change the people around us,” he said. “But in the end we feel that we are losers. To be a winner you have to first conquer yourself.”

In his book The School for Gods, D’Anna not only illustrates his philosophy and ideas that inspire the business schools, but the manifesto of “the individual revolution”.

D’Anna is also the author of The Technology of the Dreamer, and is soon to release another book inspired by his philosophical understanding.

When speaking to his students, he teaches that it is impossible to think that the only way to bring about changes in the world is to take action against it. “We have to turn towards ourselves, and see that all the conflicts, difficulties, and problems are within us,” D’Anna said. “Everything is just a mirror of what you are.”

As such, the concept of the antagonist plays an important role in D’Anna’s philosophy.

“Everybody is afraid of the antagonist,” he explained. People always try to avoid it, whether it manifests as problems within the family or as a business competitor, but the only way to conquer it is to find harmony within, “then you will see that the very thing outside yourself that scares you will disappear”, he said.

“An antagonist is something great. You should wish for yourself a very ferocious antagonist,” D’Anna said. “You will discover that the antagonist loves you much more than you love yourself … it knows what is best for you.”

When people truly realise that everything comes from within, he says, all their fears will disappear. “The power is within ourselves.”